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The Melting Arctic and Midlatitude Weather Patterns: Are They Connected?
  • Published Date:
    2015
  • Source:
    Journal of Climate, 28(20), 7917-7932.
Filetype[PDF-3.38 MB]


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  • Description:
    The potential of recent Arctic changes to influence hemispheric weather is a complex and controversial topic with considerable uncertainty, as time series of potential linkages are short (<10 yr) and understanding involves the relative contribution of direct forcing by Arctic changes on a chaotic climatic system. A way forward is through further investigation of atmospheric dynamic mechanisms. During several exceptionally warm Arctic winters since 2007, sea ice loss in the Barents and Kara Seas initiated eastward-propagating wave trains of high and low pressure. Anomalous high pressure east of the Ural Mountains advected Arctic air over central and eastern Asia, resulting in persistent cold spells. Blocking near Greenland related to low-level temperature anomalies led to northerly flow into eastern North America, inducing persistent cold periods. Potential Arctic connections in Europe are less clear. Variability in the North Pacific can reinforce downstream Arctic changes, and Arctic amplification can accentuate the impact of Pacific variability. The authors emphasize multiple linkage mechanisms that are regional, episodic, and based on amplification of existing jet stream wave patterns, which are the result of a combination of internal variability, lower-tropospheric temperature anomalies, and midlatitude teleconnections. The quantitative impact of Arctic change on midlatitude weather may not be resolved within the foreseeable future, yet new studies of the changing Arctic and subarctic low-frequency dynamics, together with additional Arctic observations, can contribute to improved skill in extended-range forecasts, as planned by the WMO Polar Prediction Project (PPP).

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